Creating shared folders in Windows does not have to be a time consuming task. Microsoft ships a Shared Folder Wizard with the operating system that provides all the means to create shared folders easily.
The wizard is available in all recent Microsoft operating systems including Windows Vista, Windows XP Pro and Windows 7.
Update: The tool is included in newer versions of Windows, Windows 8 and 10 at the time of writing this update, as well.
The easiest way to start the shared folder wizard is to press Windows-R and type shrpubw.exe in the opening run box.
Administrative rights are needed, Windows might displays an UAC command prompt depending on the user launching the program.
The introductory screen informs you about the program's purpose. Basically, it allows you to share a computer folder in your network or workgroup so that it can be accessed from other devices and other users. It notes that the process will add rules to Windows Firewall to allow this folder to be shared.
Skip the introductory screen by clicking next.
The shared folder needs to be selected on the second page. Use the file browser to locate it, type it or paste the path directly into the application window instead
A share name, description and offline settings can be defined on the next screen. It is not necessary to change the information but it can be helpful if multiple shared folder exists on the system.
It may be helpful for instance to use a descriptive name for the folder instead of its real name.
The shared folder permissions are specified on the final screen of the shared folder wizard. Here it is possible to give read access to all users, full access to administrators and either read only access or no access to normal users or to customize permissions in detail.
A click on the finish button creates the shared folder with the permissions and settings defined in the Shared Folder Wizard.
The folder becomes available immediately based on permission settings and rules that you have configured, and the network infrastructure used.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.